Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Philip Schuyler, 3 April 1797

From Philip Schuyler1

Albany April 3d 1797

My Dear Sir

I took my leave of the senate2 on friday, And as Mr. Abm. V. Vechten has consented to be nominated a candidate for a seat in senate and will probably be Elected,3 I am more at ease than I should have been, If a less able man than he had been proposed, for Spencer, Gold and Tillotson4 have already combined to divest Mr. Jones of his seal under pretence that the comptroller ought not to be of the Legislature,5 a resolution for that purpose was to have been brought forward on Saturday but finding a majority averse, they would not venture, the fact is that three I have mentioned wish to govern the senate, as L hommedieu6 would stand alone in opposition to them. If V Vechten should not be elected, L’hommedieu and Tillotson are at variance, and the former most sincerely hates Spencer and Goold, all our friends are therefore Anxious that he should be reelected, and I believe It will be proper that he should.

Pray when you come up bring the contract between Hogeboem and me with you, new propositions have been made me relative to the Claverack estate and that paper may be wanted.7

I am not in good health, my wounds are opened afresh, I hope however to be able to go to Philadelphia.

We are extremely anxious that our Eliza and the Children should Accompany you hither, pray urge her to it. Let all participate with you in our love.

Yours most affectionately

Ph: Schuyler

Alexander Hamilton Esqr

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Schuyler was H’s father-in-law.

3Abraham Van Vechten was an Albany lawyer and Federalist politician. He was elected to the New York Senate in 1798 and served until 1805.

4Ambrose Spencer, Thomas R. Gold, and Thomas Tillotson were members of the New York Senate.

5By an act of February 17, 1797, the New York legislature created the office of comptroller (New York Laws, 20th Sess., Ch. XXI). Samuel Jones, a state senator from Oyster Bay, was reported “to have been the principal author of the measure” (Jabez D. Hammond, The History of Political Parties in the State of New York [Albany, 1842], I, 104). On March 15, 1797, Jones became the state’s first comptroller (Werner, New York Civil List description begins Edgar A. Werner, ed., Civil List and Constitutional History of the Colony and State of New York (Albany, 1891). description ends , 216). As Schuyler indicates, the efforts to prevent Jones from holding two offices simultaneously failed.

6Ezra L’Hommedieu was a Federalist and a member of the New York Senate from 1783 to 1809 (except for the year 1792–1793). In addition, he had been a member of the New York Provincial Congress, the state Assembly, the Continental Congress, and the New York Council of Appointments.

7The “Claverack estate” was a tract of land which extended eastward from the Hudson River for twenty-four miles in the southern part of what is now Columbia County, New York. In 1755, when Schuyler married Catherine Van Rensselaer, this tract of land belonged to her father, John (or Johannes) Van Rensselaer. Van Rensselaer had repeated disputes with both squatters from Massachusetts and tenants, who maintained that they held freeholds in Claverack and were therefore under no obligation to Van Rensselaer. Following Van Rensselaer’s death in 1783, Schuyler represented the interests in Claverack of his wife and the other devisees, and H in turn acted as Schuyler’s legal adviser in the series of disputes over the right to various pieces of property in Claverack. For a discussion of the disputes and controversies over the lands in Claverack, see Goebel, Law Practice description begins Julius Goebel, Jr., ed., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary (New York and London, 1964– ). description ends , forthcoming volumes.

The contract between Peter Hogeboom, a Hudson, New York, merchant, and Schuyler is dated November 5, 1795. In this contract Schuyler attempted to sell Catherine Schuyler’s portion of the Claverack estate (DS, Schuyler Papers, Box 17, New York Public Library).

Index Entries